A celebration of Talmud

ON the first day of Rosh Hashanah in 1923, Poland-based Rabbi Meir Shapiro began a program called Daf Yomi (daily page), whereby students would learn a page of Talmud per day, taking seven-and-a-half years to complete the entire Talmud.

Next week, the 12th cycle of Daf Yomi will conclude with a special celebration at the Central Synagogue, the Siyum HaShas (completion of the full Shas – the six-parts of the Talmud) organised by BINA’s Rabbi Michoel Gourarie (pictured).

Rabbi Gourarie, who has been running a Daf Yomi group at BINA, said the idea behind the celebration is two-fold.

“The purpose of the evening is to, number one, honour those people who have actually completed the cycle; they’ve had that commitment, a daily commitment, for seven-and-a-half years,” he said. “And [it’s] also to highlight the importance of Jewish learning, if it’s Talmud or any other form of Jewish learning, but the idea of a commitment to daily Jewish ­learning.

“Which is also why BINA took it on because that’s what we’re about – trying to encourage people to learn whatever level and whatever program you’re comfortable with.”

Rabbi Gourarie said about 16 people in Sydney have spent the last seven-and-a-half years doing the program. Around 200 people are expected to attend the Siyum HaShas, where they will enjoy a catered meal, hear a keynote address by Rabbi Yaakov Sprung from Melbourne’s Mizrachi Synagogue, and view a video highlighting the celebration ­worldwide.

“Worldwide, literally thousands and thousands of people have now completed the whole cycle,” Rabbi Gourarie said.

North Shore Synagogue’s Rabbi Paul Lewin will complete the Shas on the night.

Rabbi Lewin told The AJN he was inspired to take on the program at the time of the last Siyum HaShas seven-and-a-half years ago. “It’s been an amazing journey taking me through the sea of Talmud,” he said.

“To conclude it is a great achievement, and to be honoured by the community is very ­humbling.”

Enquiries:  BINA (02) 9365 4421.